Life

November 20, 2014

So. What’s been going on in my life lately?

Well, here’s something I am struggling with right now: For a lot of people, it’s probably no big deal. But for me, a terribly shy introvert, it’s sort of intimidating. When someone in our church has a birthday, the worship team usually makes that person go up front to sing Happy Birthday to them. My birthday is on a Sunday this year, and my heart just pounds at the thought of the worship team saying my name and asking me to come on stage in front of the whole church.

However, I’ve been praying about it, and I asked God that if they do that, to please give me courage and strength to just do it, smile about it, and laugh it off. Because they don’t do it to be mean, and obviously I do need to get out of my comfort zone. Plus, there’s another guy in church who shares my birthday, so maybe he’ll have to come up front too. But seriously, why do that to someone? Let them enjoy their day in peace. I was venting about it to my dear cousin Kristin, who’s more extroverted, social, and outgoing. I asked her what her opinion was about it, and she even said that she wouldn’t like that done to her either. (In our church, it’s dangerous to have a birthday on a Sunday, lol).

Anyway, if you read this, please pray about this with me. Pray that either they’d forget about it and I wouldn’t have to go up on stage, or pray that if it does happen, that I could just have the courage and strength to just do it and get it over with.

In other news, I still desire/struggle with being single. I really do hope to marry a good, godly man and have children of my own someday. I also want to be a foster and adoptive parent. But in some ways, I feel like my bookmobile co-workers from the library are my “kids”.

1. They say the funniest things to make me laugh. :)

2. They mess up my room. (I work in a back room which we call the “Cave”; it’s windowless, and if I want to see out, I have to open the big garage door, but since it’s been so stinkin’ cold lately, I haven’t been doing that). Well, today we were just swamped! There were 2 large bags and 3 crates of books that had to be shelved. In addition to that, there was 1 crate and 2 carts of books that needed to be checked in! But as much I dislike clutter, I often remind myself, “If I was married and had kids, I’d probably be picking up their toys and putting them away. At this time in my life, I’m shelving books and putting them away.”

3. My co-workers are such wonderful,kind people, and they do help out. I’m sure I’d be dealing with tantrums and whining if I had kids and I asked them to put stuff away. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I teach the 2 and 3 year olds at church on Wednesday nights, and they literally ALWAYS help put toys away without a complaint! I am so grateful for that. Their parents taught them well. <3

4. I also loved that this past summer on Monday nights, the bookmobile drove past our house and honked the horn! Due to a main road being closed, they had to take our road on the way back to the library.

5. I love bringing in goodies and treats for my co-workers. I’ve brought them brownies, butter pecan fudge, cupcakes, and the library is having a soup carry-in for staff on Tuesday, so I’m bringing in Cherry Delight.  I love surprising them with fun little surprises. :D And I’m planning on baking them Christmas cookies this year as a gift. (I’m thinking Monster Cookies with red and green M ‘n’ M’s).

And quite honestly, I really do feel like God wants me at the library right now. I have peace about it, and if I had a boyfriend and he proposed to me right now, I really wouldn’t want to leave my job. I do want a husband and kids to serve someday, but I also love serving my bookmobile family. I love organizing the Cave, baking treats for the bookmobilers, and just joking around with them and confiding in them. Sort of like I might do with a husband someday.

And I had to think: If I was married right now with kids, would I look back and wish I hadn’t taken it for granted? Someday I may look back on my bookmobile years and think, “Those were the best years of my life. Why didn’t I savor and enjoy them more?” So I’m really trying to enjoy it while I can, savor it and love it.

Because someday I may have a cluttered house with kids who don’t want to pick up their toys.

 

IMG_NEW

Here is my wonderful bookmobile family. If I remember correctly, I think this picture was taken in 2012, in front of the Bluebird bookmobile. (The other bus, called the Freightliner, was in the garage). I love these people to bits. I am so thankful God placed them in my life. They have all encouraged me, made me laugh, challenged me, and are just a blessing to be around! From left to right: Gary, Linda, Phil, Marty, Ashley.

Brittany Maynard

November 4, 2014

If you haven’t heard by now, Brittany Maynard, the controversial poster child for the right-to-die campaign, ended her life on Saturday, November 1. She was 29 and had been diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. She’d have seizures that would leave her unable to talk, and in immense pain.

Her story has divided people into two groups. Those who support her decision and those who don’t. I am one of the ones who don’t support her decision.

But why? You may think. She had extreme pain, she was slowly dying, and she was going to die anyway. Why not just let her end her life the way she wants to?

Good points. But, we’re all going to die anyway. All of us, at some point, are going to die sometime anyway, whether we have a terminal illness or not. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” -Hebrews 9:27

Okay. But she was in a lot of pain. She was slowly dying anyway. She had horrible seizures that left her unable to speak at times.

More good points. But, aren’t we all slowly dying anyway? One more day that we live, is another day closer to our appointed death date. I don’t know when I’ll die. I could die tomorrow. Next week. Or in fifty years. But every day I’m alive is a single day closer to my death date.

As for the seizures, well, I feel bad that she had them. I really do. But (and I don’t mean to sound cold-hearted here), but life itself is tough. Whether you’re fighting stage 4 brain cancer and seizures, or healthy and thriving, life is tough. Life will throw you some nasty curve balls. Just like cancer can strike anyone-white, black, Hispanic, rich, poor, religious, atheist, male, female, young, old, so can curve balls. Curve balls can also strike those listed.

Personally, I feel like choosing to end your life because of cancer is a cop-out. “This cancer is so painful and it’s making me die slowly, so I’ll just choose to die when I want to, instead of letting the cancer choose for me.”  I don’t know if Brittany Maynard was a Christian or not, but I do know the Bible says to let our lights shine before men. I feel that even if you have cancer, you can choose to not let it define you. We have a book called This Star Won’t Go Out, by Esther Grace Earl, at our local library where I work. It’s in the Teen section and it’s about a 16 year-old girl who had cancer, and she made YouTube videos, spreading cheer and joy before she passed away. Now that’s dying with dignity, in my opinion. I don’t know if she was a Christian either, but she sure shone her light before others.

Brittany Maynard said this quote: “Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more.”

No, Brittany. You took so much more. You took your own life. Yes, the brain cancer took a lot from you. And I’m sorry for that. You didn’t deserve it. But you took so much more. You took a life.

Someone pointed it out to me like this:

“Think of it this way-

You’re out in the woods on a camping trip and one day, you get lost… for four or five DAYS you are lost out in the woods and then one day, you get attacked by a bear. The bear RIPS your legs off, but somehow, you’re alive after the attack. You’re in screaming pain… you’re in a valley. You haven’t seen or heard a plane in days. There’s no one near by when you’re screaming and yelling… At what point do you say, Hmmm…I have this gun here with one bullet… At what point?”

That’s a good illustration. And honestly, I’m not in Brittany’s situation. I’m not in the made-up scenario. But I can honestly say, that I would rather just bleed to death, than to play God and murder myself. I’d probably shoot the gun elsewhere and get rid of the bullet so I wouldn’t be tempted in the first place. :P And to be honest, even if the made-up scenario did happen, and I had both legs ripped off and was bleeding immensely, and had a gun with one bullet, I’d be scared to even do it. Because what if I wouldn’t make it to Heaven? Yes, I’m a believer. Jesus died for my sins and my name is in the Book of Life. But I would rather let God take me in His timing and tell me, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  We are called to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.

Some people may disagree with me, and that is fine. I am just voicing my personal conviction on this controversial story. I believe it is murder. Suicide. The devil masquerades as an angel of light, making things seem okay. “Dying with Dignity” is just a pretty label for suicide and murder.

Just like “A Woman’s Right to Choose” is a fancy name for abortion. Or “Marriage Equality” is for homosexual marriage.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may liveThat thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”  -Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal , and to kill , and to destroy : I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

The thief comes to steal. He steals names for what they are (suicide, murder, abortion, gay marriage) and puts pretty names on them to deceive people. They buy into it, and he is slowly killing them in their sins. They will eventually be destroyed when they die at their appointed death and face God at the judgement.

Again, this is my personal conviction. If someone disagrees with me, that’s fine, but please keep it polite and respectful. Rude and mean comments will be deleted. (I have not had that problem so far though, and I am very grateful for that). :)

 

~Ashley

 

More of my Life

October 29, 2014

So, I’ve got good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?

Okay, I’ll spill the good news first. First of all, as most of you know, I work two part-time jobs at our local library. My first part-time job is with the Circulation Department, and I am a Library Page in that department. I get the book return in the morning, empty it out,  record the newspapers, shelf-read, and just shelve books, mostly. Sometimes I’ll clean books too, especially if they’re sticky or gritty.

I go on my lunch break, and then after lunch I work my second part-time job, which is a Page-Tech for the Bookmobile Department. I check in books, file holds, pull holds for the next day, and shelve. Now don’t ask me why this is, but for some reason, Library Pages are like the very bottom job. We are not allowed to check in books, and we get no paid holidays, paid vacations, sick leave, etc. I love what I do, but I wish I was allowed to do more. (Page Techs ARE allowed to check books in, and depending what dept. you work for, you might get some paid days). So in the afternoon I can check in books since I’m a Page-Tech, but in the morning I can’t since I’m considered a Page. (It’s messed up, I know).

Anyway, last month I found out that my Circulation Supervisor, Stephanie, went to the library director, Bill, and told him I’d been doing so well at keeping everything organized that she thought I should get 5 paid personal days. Earlier this month, Bill presented that idea at the library board meeting, and they approved!! :D

Starting in 2015, I get 5 paid personal days, and I also get one paid personal day between now and the end of the year. Hooray!! Bill emailed all the staff to let them know, and I got so many congratulations. I was so humbled. I already know what day I’m going to use as my personal day this year: Dec. 26. The library will be closed Dec. 24-25, and I’ve got a family gathering on the 27th, so I think I’ll take the 26th off and have a nice, long week at home. :)

And now for the bad news. :(  I have this friend named Keisha, (well, I have 2 friends named Keisha. One is really nice, and the other one is… she’s nice too, but I was sort of irritated with her this week). See,  Keisha does not show her birthday on her profile, and on Friday I saw that people were wishing her a happy birthday. She had a photo album on Facebook titled her 21st birthday, and people were commenting on that. I wished her a happy birthday too, and she said (and I quote) “it was yesterday. Get it right, people”. (Her birthday had been Thursday and I wished her a happy birthday on Friday). I replied and said “sorry…happy belated birthday”. I was sort of miffed that Keisha responded the way she did. She could have just said thanks. I thought about telling her so, but I don’t want to start anything on her page either. Even when I told her “Happy Belated Birthday”, there was no “thank you”.  She later had a status saying, “Ok seriously, people are still telling me happy birthday gee people it’s not today or even yesterday it was last Thursday get it right! It don’t really mean anything if you tell me late. — feeling irritated.” >:(  One of her friends said that every day should be a celebration of life, and her dad also commented and said that at least people are thinking about her, even if it is late. Keisha replied and said “yeah, but it’s not the same”.

Well, excuse me. I didn’t realize your birthday was a national holiday and that we had to get it EXACTLY right. Were you never taught manners? I was on Keisha’s profile later, and one person wished her a happy belated birthday and she was okay with it. Then a few seconds later someone saw her rude status and told her to be nice. I took the plunge, “liked” that comment, and repeated, “Yes, please be nice. A simple thank you would suffice”. It sure felt good to get that off my chest, and I didn’t mean for that comment to rhyme, but was kinda glad it did. :)  I later went back to look at her status, and all the comments are gone. I’m guessing Keisha probably deleted them. I think she also deleted the ones on her birthday photo album because those are gone as well.

I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t go around saying, “Hey, my birthday’s not on December 25th! Get it right, people. It’s just not the same when you don’t celebrate my birthday on the actual day”.  Now I don’t know when Jesus’ actual date of birth is. Maybe it’s Dec. 25th, maybe it’s not. But the point I’m trying to make is that it shouldn’t matter about your date of birth; if someone is kind enough to wish you a happy birthday, you should thank them graciously, and not be a bratty, rude little prick about it. >:(

On another note, I could use some prayers. Most of you know my desire to get married and have a family of my own. Well, I also have a second desire, but I’d rather not say what it is on here. I’ll just call it “Desire X”.  I guess just pray that if it’s God’s will, it would come to pass. Thank you.

 

~Ashley

Life

October 11, 2014

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted. (Actually, it’s only been a month). It just seems longer, for some reason. So what’s been up in my life lately?

Introvert Insecurities

As most of you know, I am a total introvert. I’ve always been somewhat shy, even as a little girl, and that just sort of stayed with me. I also think part of it was due to being home-schooled up until 8th grade; then I was suddenly thrust into public school. As I look back in hindsight, I wish I would have pushed myself more and gotten out of my comfort zone and spoken up more.

However, I’m not always shy; sometimes I would rather just sit back, listen, and observe.

For example: One night we had a meeting at church (I really didn’t need to be there but didn’t realize it until it was too late). I was bored most of the meeting and didn’t say a whole lot. (We were there for 3 and a half hours- 6:30 to a little after 10). I was drained by 8:30 and wanted to go home already. (The meeting consisted of me, Dad, and 5 other people, one of which was our pastor). There were a couple times when some of the others went into the next room to discuss something and so it was just me and one other girl together, and I started talking to her then.

Anyway, this one lady (although I’m sure she didn’t mean to), embarrassed me. Our pastor asked me my opinion on something, and the lady pointed at me and said, “She hasn’t said one word all night!” The others laughed, and I just smiled in embarrassment. The girl that I had talked to earlier stood up for me, saying that I had made a few comments when it was just me and her, but I still felt so dumb. Now the lady that embarrassed me, I love her. She is a very sweet lady and I don’t think she meant to hurt or embarrass me. She is opposite of me, however. She is a chatty Cathy and I am a silent Sally. But, it was a lesson learned. I do need to learn to talk more and not be so shy. Sigh. And I also should have driven separately instead of going with Dad (but hey, I wanted to save on gas. It wasn’t worth it this time, though).

Like I’m not already insecure enough about them. I have had my shyness/introverted-ness pointed out and made fun of so often that I wonder if that’s God telling me to get out of my comfort zone more. Not saying I’ll totally change who I am; I’ll always be an introvert. I just need to start speaking up more.

 

Mindblown Posts

Yes. Yes, I do. *Sigh*

 

True :)

That should say, “Shy people usually end up being some of the coolest people you know after you start talking to them”. (I hate when a word is misspelled or left out of a quote).

Don’t underestimate us! Okay, now I have to brag a little bit. 2 or 3 years ago, our youth group had an event called “The Amazing Race”. We divided up into teams (Red, Blue, Green, White, Black, and Pink), and each team had a list of things they needed to accomplish. Whichever team got done first was the winner. Each team had the same list of things to accomplish, but had different times at which to accomplish them. Me and my brother Eric were on separate teams, and my team at one point was at someone’s house and we had 2 choices. We could either go on a boat and get something, or do a Bible crossword puzzle. We opted for the crossword puzzle, (much to my relief), and, not to sound prideful or anything, but I knew a lot of the answers to the puzzle, and my teammates kept congratulating me. :-D  In the end, our team didn’t win, but I still felt good about myself. I also learned that Eric had done something really well for his team (though his team didn’t win either), and one of the guys from Eric’s team said, “Man, those Wengerd kids are smart.” Yeah we are! Woot woot!

 

The Single Life

Yes, I am still struggling in my singleness. My cousin Tonia gave birth to her first child, Kierra, in February of this year. My other cousin, Amber, gave birth to her third child, Simon, in May of this year. And yet another cousin, Kristin, is expecting her first child in March. Needless to say, I feel rather left out. :’(

I met with my dear Aunt Ruby for coffee last week, and I was lamenting my singlehood woes to her. I was telling her, “It’s not fair that most of my cousins and friends got married within four years of each other. Amber and Tonia got married in 2010, Susie got married in 2011, Kelly and Bradley married in 2012, and Kristin and Daniel married in 2013. When will my turn come?”

Aunt Ruby told me that they had a visiting pastor in their church recently, and his message was, “Life Isn’t Fair.” She said that he talked about how no, it’s not fair that others have certain things that we don’t. But, he also talked about how it’s not fair that we have so much in America, while others have so little. Aunt Ruby told me, “Look at this way. It’s not fair that you were raised in a godly home, while others are being abused. You could have been raped, molested, been born in Iraq or Syria and captured or killed, or been born in Africa and gotten Ebola,” etc. Wow. That really puts things in perspective. I do have so much to be thankful for. That humbled me.

 

Very much so!!

 

 

I still desire marriage and children, but God has been showing me the beauty of singleness, too. I can’t speak for all moms, but I hear of mothers who want some time to themselves. Me? I have so much free time after work. Usually after supper is when I go off to my room and read, listen to music, watch DVDs on my laptop, or I’ll go to the office and write. I tend to take my free time for granted. My time is mine, and my money is mine. Every year the ladies from our church go on a shopping trip, and we’re going again this Tuesday (the 14th). I am planning on going, and it’s nice because all I have to do is ask off work, get money from the bank, and I’m set. If I was married, I’d have to ask my husband if he was okay with me shopping, how much of our money could I spend, and I’d have to find a sitter for the kids. And speaking of kids, my co-worker, Linda, has a daughter named Emilie, and lately she’s been supporting things that go against the Bible. This distresses Linda immensely, and I admit I get scared of that. What if I do get married and have kids, but my kids turn away from the faith? Sometimes it’s nice just to take care of the kids at church and then give them back to their parents afterwards.

 

My Quirkiness

As most of you know, I love to write (hence this blog). I like to write stories, but am so self-conscious of them and rarely show them to anyone.

 

I had a friend from high school that I felt comfortable showing my stories to, but we don’t keep in contact anymore, and for a while, although I knew my stories were silly, I still deeply desired someone to show them too. Thankfully, God heard the desire of my heart, and allowed me some wonderful new friends to share my stories with (and I feel safe and comfortable showing them my stories). Now, I don’t show them to just anyone, because most of it is just fan-fiction fluff. One of those people is Linda, my bookmobile co-worker. I do hope so much my friends like and enjoy it. I had a lot of fun writing it. :-)  I may be quiet and not talk much, but I can write a 203 page fan-fiction story. (Did I actually just say that? Now everyone’s going to want to read it, and honestly, I’m picky about who I let read my stories). Oh well. :-/

 

...and that's who I am.

 

God has blessed me with another story idea, and I can’t wait to start writing it and show it to my friends!

 

 

 

Very true.

At least I do.

 

Follow t h a t s m y l i t t l e f a c t ♥ for more quotes and fun facts! Feel free to check out our Facebook page h e r e and our Instagram h e r e!

That should say, “My life is so much more interesting inside my head”.

It's a Writer Thing

Too true.

I don’t know why my story ideas are so silly, but I do believe God plants them in my head for a reason.

 

Do what you love.

 

Good advice to take to heart. <3

 

I have more I want to say, but I’ll leave it for next time. God bless!

 

~Ashley

September 11

September 12, 2014

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks on September 11.

I remember  where I was when that happened. I was a freshman in high school, in third period math class when I found out about the first plane hitting the tower. I thought it was an accident, like maybe the pilot just had a heart attack or stroke, or something. I don’t remember what I had fourth period; I’m thinking maybe science class? But by fifth period lunch, everyone knew that it had been a terrorist attack and not an accident. Some kids were crying, saying they wanted to go home. The principal announced that all after-school activities were cancelled until further notice.

Whenever I see images of the towers burnings, of the destruction, of the people crying….I get angry. Angry at the terrorists who hate us so much that they would stoop so low. And then….part of me feels pity. They are being lied to. Deceived by the father of lies. Satan, who is out to steal, kill, and destroy. They wanted to steal our freedom, kill innocent people, and destroy our country.

I like to watch George Bush’s  9/11 speech to the nation on YouTube. I felt so safe with him in charge. He actually cared about country, unlike the current doofenschmirtz who doesn’t know what he’s doing and would rather play golf than take charge. >:(

But I digress. I like to watch Bush’s speech, and I even have a favorite part. There’s one part in his speech where he says “These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed.”

I love those last four words. “But they have failed.” They’re comforting to me.

September 11 was a day of hell for many people, both literally and figuratively. People were trapped in buildings and airplanes, enduring 2,000 degree fire and burning to their death. People lost their loved ones, whose lives were suddenly cut short in a tragic ending.

In a way, it reminds me of Easter. Satan thought he could kill Jesus. Satan, who wanted to be better than God, and whose pride got him kicked out of Heaven, has been lying to people, deceiving them, taking them on the road to a literal hell. He doesn’t want anyone to go to Heaven and he thought by having Jesus killed, he could end that.

But he doesn’t realize Who he’s up against. Jesus was killed and buried. And for 2 days, it seemed like hell had won. I’m sure the devil was gloating, smiling with glee, sure that the whole world was his for the taking.

But he had failed.

Because on the third day, Jesus overcame death. He came back to earth to see his disciples, to talk and pray with them, and to offer everyone eternal life.

Just like America united together and banded together against our enemies, and rose up against evil, Jesus also rose up against evil, and death.

Out of the ashes and rubble of the demolished World Trade Center towers came a new tower, called One World Trade Center.

Out of the ashes and rubble of the demolished World Trade Center towers arose a cross.

 

Ground Zero cross

 

A cross arose from hell. Out of the fire, dirt, and mangled, twisted parts of the building, arose a symbol of hope. That even in the midst of a horrible day, where radical Muslims killed in the name of Islam, to their god, Allah, God still reigns.

Amidst the fear, anger, and sadness…..there was hope.

There’s a song by Chris Tomlin called “Our God”, and one of the verses goes like this: “Into the darkness You shine….Out of the ashes You rise….There’s no one like You…..none like You.”

Into the dark day of September 11, shone a cross. Out of the ashes He rose. Showing himself faithful even on America’s darkest day.

There really is no one like Him. <3

Labor Day Post

September 2, 2014

I know it’s not the end of the year yet, but I’ve been doing some reflecting on 2014. September is here already, which means that 2014 is 2/3 over. Do we really have only four more months go to? How time flies.  Last year over Labor Day weekend, we were dropping Eric off in Columbus for his 3-month DTS (Discipleship Training School) training for Nepal. Now it’s a year later, and he’s planning on going to college for a semester, then back to Columbus to be a staff intern at the RIC (Rosedale International Center) where he had his DTS training. I remember coming home after dropping him off and crying, telling God I couldn’t handle this and why did He have to call Eric to Nepal? But I survived, as did Eric, and we are both changed people, for the better. So, here are some of my reflections over the past year (well, the past eight months of it, anyway).

Answered Prayers

In 2008, I lost a dear friend of mine, and I took the loss very hard. I prayed for some new friends, friends that I could share my stories with (and feel comfortable doing so), and God mercifully heard me and answered my prayer. I met my wonderful friends on Xanga and Facebook, and although I wish we could meet for coffee or have sleepovers, I can still talk to them about anything and share my stories with them. And feel comfortable doing it, too!  :)

Another answered prayer is that God brought Eric (as well as the rest of the REACH teams) safely back from their locations. And speaking of which, I had felt so insecure about myself at the time, with Eric going to Nepal for his location and Tyler graduating college in May. But God, knowing I needed a self-esteem boost, nudged me to teach the Puggles class at church for Awana (that’s the 2-3 year olds), and they loved me! Three of the kids’ moms told me that their kids didn’t even want to go to Sunday School because I wasn’t their teacher! I am so humbled and flattered. Those kids could be a handful, but they’ve got me wrapped around their little fingers. <3

And last but not least, another answered prayer also came in the form of my new friends. There was something I had been struggling with for a while, and I felt God nudging me to tell someone. But I was scared. Finally I summoned up enough courage to tell one of my Xanga friends, and after I did that, one of my friends I met on Facebook posted a status asking if anyone had prayer requests. I messaged her and told her the same thing, and honestly, I felt such a weight lifted off me! It was so good to finally tell someone my struggles. My friends were very kind, and one of them told me, “It’s going to be okay.” That meant a lot to me, and I still tell myself that. It’s going to be okay.

Drama

I have also had the misfortune to deal with some not so nice people. There was a girl on Xanga who constantly harassed one of my friends, lied about her, lied about stuff to me and others, and was just being a bully in general. Xanga has since shut down, but this girl (her name is Leslie) has come onto Facebook to start her pointless drama all over again. Sigh. >:(  In addition to Leslie, I have had to deal with a “frenemy”- a person who both friend and enemy. “C”, as I’ll call her, will randomly pop in and out of my life, messaging me on Facebook and yet ignoring me other times.  She messaged me this past summer and I told her I was done with it. She actually apologized, which I appreciated, but I felt bad, so I apologized too. Double sigh.

Then of course, we had a car accident happen right in front of our house on a Saturday night (actually, it was the day before Mother’s Day). So I also had plenty of drama to deal with in 2014. :-/

So, that’s been my year so far. Good, bad, and ugly. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds!

Ramblings

August 13, 2014

My heart is heavy as I type. My heart is burdened for the Christians in Iraq and Syria. I wish I could fly a jet and take all of them here, to America.

I hate Islam. I struggled with not hating the jihadists, because I know that God loves them and that they each have a soul as well. Besides, it’s Satan who’s behind this. Satan lied to them about Islam. He is out to steal, kill, and destroy. So I hate him and Islam. The terrorists, well….I’m working on simply disliking them for the moment. Maybe someday I’ll feel sorry for them about how they’re being deceived by the devil.

I prayed for the Christians over there, and I felt God nudging me to pray for the jihadists. As much as I didn’t want to, I did. I prayed that God would give even just one of them a “Saul” experience. If even just ONE jihadist comes to know Christ, it’s worth it. It sounds silly, but I call him Mr. J in my prayers. Pray for Mr. J., that he would come to know Jesus and stop persecuting Christians. I also need to pray for our President, that he would also come to know Christ and do something about those terrorists in Iraq. To be honest, although Bush made mistakes, I’d feel a lot better if he were in office right now. At least he was a Christian, godly man, whereas our current commander-in-chief is also a Muslim. Blech.

But anyway, one night as I prayed, I am ashamed to admit that I argued with God. I don’t understand. He is God. He has ALL the power in the world. He can do absolutely anything. He parted the Red Sea. His only Son defeated death. So why isn’t He doing something about these barbaric terrorists beheading and persecuting His own children? Isn’t that like having a super power, and seeing someone in trouble, but not using it? Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but that’s definitely how I felt that night.

I don’t know. I know I’m one of God’s WHY-niest children. I also feel extremely guilty. I have so much, while my fellow Christians are losing so much. They’re losing family members, friends, churches, even their lives. I have a nice house to come home to, a job that I love, wonderful friends and family, clothes, food and water, and freedom. Freedom to attend church, to pray, read my Bible, play Christian music, etc.

I hate this. I hate feeling guilty having so much, and I didn’t do anything to deserve it. I am so very blessed. I also hate feeling sad and burdened, wanting to help the people over there, and not being able to.

Well, actually, I can pray. Prayer is the greatest weapon and tool we have. And I know for myself, sometimes it doesn’t seem like much.

But the Bible says, “ The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” -James 5:16

I also came across this site: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/5-things-you-can-do-for-christians-in-iraq.html

One of the things mentioned is prayer. And like I said, the site also says that prayer is the most powerful thing we can do.

Just like Elijah was fed meat from the ravens, pray that God would send food for the Christian Iraqis. Just like Saul was converted and became Paul, the greatest missionary ever, pray that at least one jihadist would become saved. Just like God closed the mouths of the lions for Daniel, pray that God would close the eyes of the terrorists when there are believers nearby, that they wouldn’t see them and leave them alone.

I’m done. I’m still bummed about it all. But I’ll keep praying. And hoping that at least one Islamic terrorist comes to know God.

Blonde Moments, Books, & Bicycles

July 27, 2014

This week has been really busy for me. We had VBS at our church this week, lasting Sunday-Thursday evenings, from 6:30-8:30. I taught the Nursery class and had a helper. Between the busyness, and possibly not getting enough sleep, I had a few blonde moments and lapses in judgement this week; one of which I kept beating myself up about. I reminded myself of the verse Romans 8:38-39, which reads: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  That helped me a little bit. I told myself that God loves me the same every day, and that past circumstances don’t change His love for me.

Well, this past Friday I was on the bookmobile with my co-worker, Gary, in Holmesville. We had 3 stops to do, and then head over to Charm for the bookmobile fund-raiser. At the end of one of our stops, we were re-shelving some books before leaving for our next stop and I came across a non-fiction book called “The Shelter of God’s Promises”, by Sheila Walsh. I opened it to the table of contents, deciding to read the chapter about God’s promise of grace. I read a bit, turned the page, and on the very next page that I turned to, there was the exact verse I’d been reminding myself of! Romans 8:38-39. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ”  How cool is that? :-)  I just felt like that was God reaffirming to me that yes, He still loved me. Sheila also went on to say in her book that God loves us because of Who He is, not because of what we do. That really hit me. It’s like, I’ve always known that God is love, but I really get it now. It clicked.

God loves me because He IS love! God is not circumstances. God is not conditional love. God is not good choices. God is love. Love when we make bad choices and have blonde moments. Unconditional love when we beat ourselves up and don’t love ourselves. I love it when something clicks and I get it. How much more does my Heavenly Father love it when one of His kiddos finally gets something? I’m so glad He is patient and doesn’t give up on me. <3

When I was a kid, both my brother and I had bikes that Mom got for us from Wal-Mart. Tyler’s was red and black, and had a sign below the seat that said “Red Rider”. (Or something like that; I don’t remember exactly).  Mine was white with pink handlebars, purple splatters across it, and a sign below the seat that said “Sea Star” and had cartoon seahorses on it. I gave my bike away to my second cousin, Tasha, several years ago because her bike was old and worn out, and I simply just wasn’t riding mine anymore. I was baby-sitting her and her sister, and I’m trying to remember how old they would’ve been. I’m thinking she was around 7 or 8, maybe, when I gave her my bike. I gave her my bike between ’05 and ’07, I believe.

Well, on Friday, at the bookmobile’s last stop in Holmesville, there was a little Amish boy who had my exact same bike! Now before you go and think, “well, maybe it just looked similar”, I am telling you it was the absolute, exact same bike that I used to have! It was white with purple splatters, pink handlebars, and the sign that read “Sea Star”, although part of the sign was torn off. Now, I don’t know if it was the bike that I used to have and gave to Tasha, or if he had somehow gotten a duplicate from another store, but it was the same type and model that I had as a kid! That totally made my day. :D Who would’ve thought that years later I’d see my old childhood bicycle?

 

Blessings until next time!

 

Ashley

More Thoughts

June 20, 2014

1. In my last post, I talked about confirmations. Well, there’s another one I want to share, but I’m not doing it to make myself look or to puff myself up. Rather, it’s to share a confirmation that God did for me.

Most of you know that my brother Eric signed up for the REACH program last year, and went to Nepal. My other brother Tyler was in college and graduated this May, while Eric came from Nepal also in May. At the time, I was feeling quite insecure about myself, wondering where I fit in. (I can’t even fit into a pair of skinny jeans, let alone my place in life. Sigh).  Most of my girl cousins are married, and I’m still waiting for Prince Charming.

Well, this year at church, we decided to do Awana for our kid’s program instead of Faith Weavers. Now Faith Weavers is a good program, but we’d beein doing it for so many years, and so we decided to try something new. Now, I had tried my hand at being a teacher for Faith Weavers for the 3 and 4 years, and needless to say, I wasn’t very good at it. I either wasn’t firm enough with the kids, or if I was firm, I was too firm and they got scared of me. :(  I had to find a balance somewhere. I didn’t want the kids to run over me and get away with stuff, but I also wanted them to feel comfortable around me. So, someone else volunteered to be the teacher, and I was the helper.

Well for Awana, there’s a group called the Puggles, which is 2 and 3 year olds. I felt God nudging me to teach that class, and I tried to fight it, thinking, “But God! I wasn’t a good teacher with the Faith Weavers class, so someone else had to be the teacher. Why do You want me to do this?” I didn’t know, but I signed up to be the teacher for the Puggles group. And, strange as it sounds, I actually enjoyed it! Most of the kids were pretty good; though a few did cry when their parents left. But I’d read the lesson, show a picture related to the lesson, then we colored, did crafts, played games, snack, and the rest of the time was play time! (With potty breaks in between, of course).

But here’s where the confirmation part comes in. One of my kids’ moms told me once (when I was running late to church due to being on the Bookmobile that afternoon/evening) that Trey (her son) threw a fit because he thought I wasn’t coming! :)  She told me that Trey said “I want Ashley!”

Awww. That made my heart melt. <3  And Trey wasn’t the only one. I later found out that 2 other kids from my class (Grady and Addi) felt the same way, and, believe it or not, Trey, plus Grady and Addi, wouldn’t even go to Sunday School on Sunday mornings because I wasn’t their teacher! Grady’s mom told me that they liked coming to my class because I made them feel safe. Uh….whoa. Previously, I was too firm with kids and they were scared of me. Now I made kids feel safe? What a turn-around!

Anyway, I believe God wanted me to teach Awana for the Puggles group to show me that I am just as needed here as Eric is in Nepal. Or Tyler is in college. I don’t know what it was I did that made these kids love me so much, but I know Who was working through me to teach them and instill the lessons in them. :)

2. On another note,  last Thursday I was on my way to a viewing, and I didn’t know how to get to the church it was being held at. (I remember being at that church once, when I was 9). Eric printed out directions from Google Maps, and I was on my way. Google Maps said the estimated time was 26 minutes. Well, believe it or not, it took me an hour and a half to get to the church because I kept making wrong turns, getting on wrong roads, turning around, and texting and calling people asking for directions! >:(  Sigh….well, at least I made it in time. But ugh! That was so frustrating.

That made me think though, of all the lost people in the world today. They’re looking for the right road….something to satisfy them. They fill themselves up with money, possessions, fame, their career, etc. They want truth. But they twist the truth to fit their desires. They go on wrong turns, and ask people what the meaning of life is, and do all sorts of good deeds….but they’re still empty. Jesus said He is the Way. The Truth. And the Life.

3. It has been almost 6 months into the New Year (although it’s not so new anymore, lol), and so far, 2014 is going pretty well! Although it’s rather personal, several of my prayers have been answered. I have wonderful friends who I can talk to about stuff (one of my friends even told me I can talk to her anytime and that she’s always here for me. :D  That made me feel good),  Eric came back from Nepal safe and sound, Tyler graduated college, 2 people I’ve been praying for have slowly started coming around, and then of course finding out that my Puggles kids loved me. :)  God is so good. But, even when He doesn’t answer our prayers the way I want Him to, He is still good. Because He is God. I am so very blessed.

4. My New Year’s resolution was to give up pop for the year (unless I’m sick and throwing up, then I’ll take Sprite or 7-Up or something), and I can’t believe it’s been nearly 6 months! Whenever our family has pizza, we always have pop to drink with it. The first time I had pizza without pop, it felt really weird. But now, I don’t think about it. The really hard part is gonna be our annual family gathering in July, where we have homemade root beer (SO much better than store-bought), popcorn, homemade ice cream, BBQ chicken, and other goodies. We only get homemade root beer once a year, at the family gathering. It’s gonna be hard for me to give it up this year (especially since we’re having Ken and Elaine, a missionary family that I haven’t seen in years, come join us this year!) But at the end of this year, I want to be able to say, “I did it!” 5 and a half months down, 6 and a half more months to go. I can do this!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

 

Randomness

June 7, 2014

1. Confirmations

I’ve been thinking about confirmations lately. I like confirmations because I have a bad habit of second-guessing myself a lot, and when something is confirmed, I feel better about my decision. Though I do need to learn to trust myself in the first place.

For example, last fall when Eric signed up to go to REACH to go to Nepal, he had to do 3 months training in Columbus first. It was hard on me when we dropped him off, because Tyler’s been in Cleveland for a few years now, and I was used to having Eric be at home and talking to him. But Eric emailed and said he loved it there in Columbus. He loved his team members, the activities the REACHERS did, the worship times, etc. I just felt like that was confirmation from God that Eric was supposed to do this. He also loved it in Nepal. :)

Another example is one time there was this guy that liked me, and we’d only met twice. The second time we met, he started asking some personal questions, and I was rather nervous and uncomfortable, to say the least. He’d wanted to go to a bonfire originally, but I had to work that day and just wanted to go home and relax. I told him I didn’t want to go to the bonfire, so he suggested a movie. I agreed, but was still nervous. Anyway, we ended up meeting at a local coffee shop and eating supper instead of going to a movie, and I was so relieved. I am not sure why, but at the time, I really, really did not want to meet with him and was so nervous and uncomfortable. I was so glad to leave the coffee shop. (He asked me out and I turned him down, by the way). Anyway, I was sort of annoyed with myself because I couldn’t understand why I was so stinkin’ nervous. I mean, personal questions would make anybody nervous, but I just had a feeling in my gut that I couldn’t shake.

This past Monday I met my aunt for coffee at a different local coffee shop and told her about this. Some of her sons know this guy, and later Monday afternoon I got a text from my aunt saying: “Just a confirmation. I asked our boys about this guy, and Bradley said NO! Not good!”  I asked my aunt how he wasn’t good, and my aunt said that she didn’t know exactly; Bradley just said this guy professed Christianity but didn’t live a good life ( or at least didn’t used to), and that the guy seemed sorta messed up to him. I told my aunt to tell her boys thanks a lot, and my aunt said her boys are all glad I didn’t get in a relationship with him! :)  (I later found out that this guy has a brother who’s married, but the brother got his fiance pregnant before they got married. I’m not saying the guy who asked me out would’ve done that, but still). I feel like when my gut tells me something, I need to just trust it instead of wondering why it feels that way. I believe God saw something in that guy that wasn’t good for me, and I should have trusted God and my gut. Fellow readers, how do you determine the difference between your gut and just plain fear?

2. Desires

In my last post, I wrote about “Person” and our falling-out. That was really hard on me for many reasons, one of them being I like to write stuff (nothing that would ever get published, mind you; just fluff-stuff type pieces) and I liked showing them to her. But slowly (though I had to wait), God brought me some wonderful new friends who I can share my work with. The best part? They get me! I can talk to them about anything, and it is such a load off my shoulders. We met on Xanga (boy, I miss that site) and I became close friends with some dear people. (I don’t miss Annette/Leslie and the drama-fest fiasco she caused). I wish we could meet in person, but I know we’ll meet in Heaven. :)  I am so thankful God granted me the desires of my heart, silly as it may sound. I’m so glad God gets me, too. <3

I have a small group of these close friends that I share my heart with, and I mentioned getting a new story idea, and one of my friends told me, “Write your heart out! I’d read it.”  She probably has no idea how much her kind words planted a seed in my heart and gave me courage to write my fluff-piece. And those 4 words: Write Your Heart Out. Whenever there was something I was nervous to put in or write about, I remembered those words and wrote what was on my heart; hence, writing my heart out. I do hope she likes it. But even if she hates it, it’s okay. Because our friendship is not based on whether or not they like my stories. Our friendship is based on trust, respect, loyalty, and love.

 

3. Discouragement

Imagine going to a place where no one wants you. You’re ridiculed,  mocked, shamed, etc. You’d want to leave and go home, right? I wonder if that’s how God feels about America sometimes. Today I read an article about a new movie that came out, and it’s about abortion. Really? Have we come that low?

http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/06/06/obvious-child-movie-review-jenny-slate-romantic-comedy-abortion/#comments

 

The article says “It’s so important for women to hear a story about abortion that isn’t a horror story,”  with more after it. But abortion is a horror story. It’s murdering innocent babies. In my devotions, I read a portion of both the Old and New Testaments every day, and I’m reading about Ahaz and how he sacrificed his own children to gods. That’s what we in America are doing. Offering children to the gods of money, ease, comfort, convenience, etc.

I also read Jesus’ words about the world will hate us, because it hated Him first, and that we will face persecution in the world. That comforts me, because June is Gay Pride Month, and as much as that sickens me, I can’t imagine how disgusted God is with it. Dedicating a whole month to celebrating something He very clearly stated was an abomination, making a  mockery out of something He created. How low we have stooped. :(

And finally, I read this sad article about a little girl being attacked by two pit bulls and losing part of her jaw and tongue.

http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/06/06/cincinnati-girl-attacked-pit-bulls-zainabou-drame/#comments

Now, I know it may not be entirely the animals’ fault. Maybe it’s the owner’s fault for not training the dogs properly, I don’t know. But I will admit that I am more of a baby kind of person. I love babies and little kids. Not a big animal fan, although I am against animal cruelty. God gave us dominion over the animals, and when we purposely hurt animals, we’re abusing the privilege that God gave us. But, I do feel that people often put animals over people, which I cannot stand.

For example, I saw this picture on Facebook today:

Photo: Did you know that there are drivers out there that swerve intentionally to hit turtles and snakes? Some of the species that are injured/killed are even endangered species.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>If you see a turtle in the road and want to help him across, always take him to the side where he or she is headed.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Always make certain of your own safety and the safety of your children if you stop your vehicle and get out to help a turtle.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Photo and info via thestickytongue.org/” width=”417″ height=”504″ /></p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p><span class= 

 

 

 

It said above the picture “Did you know that there are drivers out there that swerve intentionally to hit turtles and snakes? Some of the species that are injured/killed are even endangered species. If you see a turtle in the road and want to help him across, always take him to the side where he or she is headed. Always make certain of your own safety and the safety of your children if you stop your vehicle and get out to help a turtle.”

 

Now hold on. We’re watching a movie about abortion, giving money to the box office to watch a movie about a sin that is being glorified, and yet we’re supposed to help Myrtle the Turtle cross the street?  Now don’t get me wrong; I would never purposely swerve in order to hit a turtle. But if I’m being honest, I’m not really making it my priority to help animals cross the road either. I’ve hit deer, raccoons, and squirrels (none on purpose, obviously). I realize this makes me sound like a cold-blooded killer, but oh well. I am who I am.

Well, I will leave off for now. I have more to say, but this is already quite long. Have a wonderful weekend, fellow readers! :D


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.